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Author Topic: Flight from KGPT to 4R4 to MPE to MBO with ATC COMS - Video  (Read 4179 times)
beechsundowner
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« on: June 09, 2009, 08:06:04 PM »

VFR flight with flight following round robin from Gulfport MS to Fairhope AL to Philadelphia MS to KMBO with ATC communications  3 hours flight compressed to 10 minutes.  Gulfport, Mobile, Jackson, Meridian approach, Houston and Memphis Center contacted during this video.



Question for ATC controllers;

Why didn't the type of aircraft and destination follow on hand offs.  Seemed to be a lot of repetitive queries from sector to sector which made for long read backs due to the round robin.  We tried to emphasize it was a round robin as you can see.  Is there anything else we can ask to be done to reduce the constant "read back"?

5 minutes 10 seconds into the video, I had forgotten to turn off my cell phone and this was the cause of the radio interference.
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sykocus
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2009, 12:04:52 AM »


Question for ATC controllers;

Why didn't the type of aircraft and destination follow on hand offs.  Seemed to be a lot of repetitive queries from sector to sector which made for long read backs due to the round robin.  We tried to emphasize it was a round robin as you can see.  Is there anything else we can ask to be done to reduce the constant "read back"?

When you asked for flight following from the tower, they assigned you a "local code". Each facility is given a "local subset" to assign codes from. It sounds like GPT has 02xx's. The information they got from you (type, route, altitude, etc.) does not get passed along automatically. It sounds like they handed you off to MOB app. In which case the departure controller would have had to call the MOB on a landline and give all the information verbally, but the controller there either forgot what GPT told her or wanted to confirm the info. About halfway though the clip when you get a new code 25xx, it sounds like the controller put in a full flight plan. I didn't finish listening to the clip but after you are handed off to ZHU and ZME they didn't ask for your info again.



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sykocus
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2009, 12:24:07 AM »

I almost forgot about the 2nd part of your question.

In the future you can file a VFR flight plan and let the tower you have one on file when you call up, or you can try and ask the tower nicely to one into the FDP (flight data processor). At GPT the same controllers trade off between the tower and the approach control. That means that people in the tower would know how to input a full flight plan into the FDP (if thats what they still use). At other places the tower controller may not have any radar experience and don't know how to put one in or might not even have a FDP. If that's the case you can ask the radar controller once you get airborne.

If you do ask the controller for a full flight plan they may be taken aback or make excuses. They might be lazy, but there are legitimate times where it's just not possible or a good time for the controller to put one in. Putting in a full flight plan requires a lot more time then just a local one. For example:

FP N12345 C172/A 110 GPT PXX00 VFR/045 GPT..4R4..MPE..MBO

vs.

N12345 C172 045 GPT MBO

Everything in the first one has to be in the right order. I'm pretty good with FPD inputs but other controllers might have to refer to a "cheat sheet" to make sure they put everything in the right format. Also I didn't put in the remarks where you would be making approaches. In the second one I put more information then is required, at least for radar system I currently work with. If I'm in a hurry all I need to do is type the callsign and hit enter and it'll give me a code.
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beechsundowner
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2009, 09:27:43 AM »

If you do ask the controller for a full flight plan they may be taken aback or make excuses. They might be lazy, but there are legitimate times where it's just not possible or a good time for the controller to put one in. Putting in a full flight plan requires a lot more time then just a local one. For example:

FP N12345 C172/A 110 GPT PXX00 VFR/045 GPT..4R4..MPE..MBO

vs.

N12345 C172 045 GPT MBO


Thanks for this insight.  I think what puzzled me is that we were asked our type and destination.  From what you indicate above, even if the intermediary airports were not put in, at least the type should be known?

I myself haven't messed with XC VFR flight following since getting my IA rating (I just file IFR) so it's been about 6 or 7 years since I have done something like this so it was fun for me.

The video would have been twice as long had I not done my serious editing needs.  The pilot's primary language is not English, so I had to prompt her (edited out of the video) before she keyed up what to day on several calls and there were long lags between ATC and her response which prompted second calls from ATC.   Especially the touch and go where she couldn't translate touch and go to land and take off for the controller to understand what we were doing at 4r4.

I know it drove me nuts for the long pauses so I can't imagine what the controller was feeling and I know it's aviate, navigate and communicate, but we had long done the aviate and navigate!

Regarding centers, yes, it appears that centers had more substantive information between Houston and Memphis, but then Meridian approach told us at KMPE  to squawk VFR have a good day when that would have been a touch and go.  Would something have gotten lost between Memphis Center and Meridian approach.

On another related topic, on Flight Aware, would the first example be tracked on Flight Aware for a VFR flight following.  There has been discussions on why VFR flight plans are sometimes tracked and sometimes not. We have come to the conclusion, for local codes, no tracking, but the national codes, seems to be hit and miss (more miss) so we are trying to figure out how the tracking happens on some VFR flight plans and not others.

I think (said) it's highly dependent on how the VFR flight plan is entered into the computer, some think it's dependent on the actual squawk code (national)
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davolijj
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2009, 10:13:11 AM »

Regarding centers, yes, it appears that centers had more substantive information between Houston and Memphis, but then Meridian approach told us at KMPE  to squawk VFR have a good day when that would have been a touch and go.  Would something have gotten lost between Memphis Center and Meridian approach.

My guess is the center controller heard you were landing MPE and input the flight plan as such.  So as far as MEI approach knew, you were landing and terminating your flight at MPE.  We don't see a whole lot of round robin VFR flight following requests in the EnRoute enviroment, so controllers are not use to the whole concept.  Had a different controller taken your request maybe it would have been entered correctly, maybe not.

On another related topic, on Flight Aware, would the first example be tracked on Flight Aware for a VFR flight following.  There has been discussions on why VFR flight plans are sometimes tracked and sometimes not. We have come to the conclusion, for local codes, no tracking, but the national codes, seems to be hit and miss (more miss) so we are trying to figure out how the tracking happens on some VFR flight plans and not others.

I think (said) it's highly dependent on how the VFR flight plan is entered into the computer, some think it's dependent on the actual squawk code (national)

I think it has to do with the NAS VFR flight plan having an origin and destination.  For pop-up VFR flight plans, the origin will be a fix/radial/distance that the aircraft was assigned a beacon code.  It might look like this:

N1943L BE23/G 100 MCB065020  E1217 VFR  MCB065020..MPE            as opposed to
N1943L BE23/G 100 MCB065020  E1217 VFR  GPT./.MCB065020..MPE
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JD
beechsundowner
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2009, 10:37:29 AM »

I think it has to do with the NAS VFR flight plan having an origin and destination.  For pop-up VFR flight plans, the origin will be a fix/radial/distance that the aircraft was assigned a beacon code.  It might look like this:

N1943L BE23/G 100 MCB065020  E1217 VFR  MCB065020..MPE            as opposed to
N1943L BE23/G 100 MCB065020  E1217 VFR  GPT./.MCB065020..MPE

Thank you , thank you, thank you! 

I posted a link back this thread at http://discussions.flightaware.com/viewtopic.php?p=81540#81540 

Lots of pieces to the puzzle coming together for me!  grin  Even if I never do another VFR XC, it's really nice to get a full picture of what's happening on the otherside of the radio, at least for me! 
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sykocus
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2009, 12:53:44 PM »


Thanks for this insight.  I think what puzzled me is that we were asked our type and destination.  From what you indicate above, even if the intermediary airports were not put in, at least the type should be known?

The issue is that none of the information from the second example gets automatically passed on from one facility to another. If you are told "radar service terminated. squawk vfr. contact _______ for further flight following" it's a giveaway that you are probably going to have to give the next controller all your info again.

Regarding centers, yes, it appears that centers had more substantive information between Houston and Memphis, but then Meridian approach told us at KMPE  to squawk VFR have a good day when that would have been a touch and go.  Would something have gotten lost between Memphis Center and Meridian approach.

I'm about 99% sure that the controller at the 5:50 mark put a flight plan into the NAS. He probably realized that given your routing it would make sense to take an extra 3 mins to put your info into the FDP in order to reduce coordination and radio calls. It's just too bad the the controller at GPT twr didn't think to do that. Also it sounds like the MEI controller dropped your flight plan. Either he got confused or the flight plan wasn't entered accurately. When the controller at 5:50 ask for your destination the pilot originally said MPE, then came back in a second transmission and said you were going to MBO. It's possible the controller didn't pick up on the 2nd transmission.

The pilot's primary language is not English, so I had to prompt her (edited out of the video) before she keyed up what to day on several calls and there were long lags between ATC and her response which prompted second calls from ATC.   Especially the touch and go where she couldn't translate touch and go to land and take off for the controller to understand what we were doing at 4r4.

Probably 60% of the pilots I deal with speak something other then English as their first language so I'd say she did fairly well. Sometimes certain phrases with certain accents just don't mix. Once I tried three times to have a korean pilot "say altitude leaving" I got one read back of the altimeter and two say again's. However by mixing it up a little by saying "say level passing" the pilot knew what I was getting at. Keep in mind that a radar controller doesn't need to know if you are doing a low approach or touch and go. They just want to know if you are staying on the ground or coming back out.  When I worked in that area (Columbus approach) we didn't get many foreign pilots, but hopefully most controllers can appreciate trying to fly a plane AND speak a second language.


I think (said) it's highly dependent on how the VFR flight plan is entered into the computer, some think it's dependent on the actual squawk code (national)
Well that's kind of chicken or egg issue. Generally the way the flight is input determine what kind of code gets assigned. Though there are ways around that. Smiley That being said I would think that the 1st example would be tracked by flight aware, and that the 2nd probably would not be.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 01:01:10 PM by sykocus » Logged

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